How to get involved

What is involvement?
Why you should get involved
How to get involved
Examples of involvement
Opportunities to get involved


What is involvement?

It is important to involve people in our service design and delivery. We are an organisation dedicated to providing quality health and social care to everyone. To help us do this, we are committed to working in partnership with people who use our services.

Personal and Public Involvement (PPI) is a term used to describe involvement work. PPI is the active and meaningful involvement of the following people in the design, planning, commissioning, review and evaluation of health and social care (HSC) services:

  • service users
  • families or unpaid carers of service users
  • community organisations who advocate for service users and carers
  • wider public
  • Trust staff

By getting involved, you can use your experience to help us improve our services for everyone.

Personal and Public Involvement has been a statutory duty for all health and social care providers in Northern Ireland since 2009: Health and Social Care (Reform) Act (Northern Ireland) 2009.

Why you should get involved

As a service user or family carer, you have first-hand experience of the services delivered by Belfast Trust. You may be someone with knowledge or skills that could help us improve our services.

How to get involved

If you would like to become involved with our Trust, we would like to hear from you. For further information on how to get involved, contact:

Sandra McCarry
Senior Manager for Community Development and PPI
Email: ppi@belfasttrust.hscni.net

There are many ways to get involved, for example:

  • surveys and questionnaires
  • committees and forums

How and where you get involved is up to you. There is support and training available to help you build your skills. All involvement helps us improve.

Give feedback

You can give feedback on a service you have experienced or received. You may give this feedback directly to the service at the time or you may choose to do it later.

Your feedback may be given verbally, for example in an interview, or it may be provided on a feedback form, survey or questionnaire. Complaints and compliments are also types of feedback.

Care Opinion is an online platform where you can share your experience of health and social care services.

Focus group

You can join a small group of invited individuals (between 6 and 10 people) with similar interests or experiences. Focus groups aim to discuss a specific topic and share ideas to help improve service delivery.

Service user / carer group or forum

These groups tend to meet on a regular basis to have ongoing engagement with Trust staff. Together, they share experiences, knowledge and ideas for change or improvement.

Steering group

A steering group may come together because they have an interest in a particular area. The group’s role is to:

  • ensure all those sitting outside the Trust have a voice
  • inform and influence change
  • monitor and evaluate Trust activity
  • support development
Co-production

This is about empowering service users, carers and the Trust to work together from the beginning to plan, deliver and review services.

Inform planning and strategy

You can input to the Trust’s wider health and social care planning, to support effective service delivery for the future.

Join the Involvement Network

Join our Involvement Network to receive:

  • quarterly newsletter
  • regular information about involvement opportunities and events
  • training

Examples of involvement

Feedback / service reviews

School of Dentistry

This evaluation included postal questionnaires and face-to-face interviews with service users. This led to a review of all patient information used within the service to ensure it was user-friendly.

Regional spina bifida services  

This was an evaluation of outpatient services at the Children’s Hospital. It included feedback from service users (parents, children and young people) using postal questionnaires and focus groups.

There was a follow-up workshop attended by staff, parents and SHINE, a voluntary organisation that supports families in all aspects of care of children with spina bifida. During the workshop, these stakeholders jointly developed an action plan for improvements to the service.

Community Rehabilitation Service (CRS)

Using focus groups, we got feedback from service users, carers and family members to evaluate the service they had received. Following the recommendations, the service’s information leaflets were redesigned.

Gender Identity Service

A one-off service user panel provided feedback, which helped support the design of the service and relevant information leaflets.

Service user forums

HIV service user forum

This forum provided an opportunity for partnership working between the Trust, service users and relevant support agencies. Working together, they improved services, for example the introduction of a new appointments system for the clinic.

Neurology service user forum

This is another forum where patients and service users helped improve services by pinpointing particular needs.

NI Cancer Research Consumer Forum (NICRCF)

Members of this forum are patients and carers affected by cancer who also have an interest in shaping cancer research in Northern Ireland. The members provide a vital patient and carer voice.

Carers’ involvement

Carers can get involved in many different ways to influence how services are developed in Belfast Trust, for example:

  • discussing their experiences with staff
  • sharing their ideas on how services can be improved
  • developing a carer’s handbook and website information
  • reviewing carer information leaflets
  • delivering training for healthcare professionals
  • organising carer events alongside staff
  • commenting on draft Trust policies and guidance

There are other ways to get involved. Carers do not necessarily need to attend meetings, as feedback can also be given by phone, email or by post. Email: CarerSuppSvcs@belfasttrust.hscni.net for more information.

Other examples of involvement

Speech and language therapy

A service user was involved in the production of a DVD to train professionals and services to ‘Help Stop Choking’.

Occupational therapy wheelchair service

Service users were involved in the Regional Wheelchair Training Programme for occupational therapists. Service users were also involved in the production of all training materials, providing photographs, videos and quotations.

Stroke Development Group

A service user and carer joined the group to participate in discussions about the future development of the stroke service. This involvement enabled staff to be much more aware of the needs of service users and carers.

Many services also offer opportunities for service users to get involved in regular groups and activities, for example:

  • service user groups for day centres
  • providing content for newsletters

Opportunities to get involved